Nutella fans go nuts over new Village cafe

Some of the offerings at the Nutella Cafe. Photo by Gabe Herman

BY GABE HERMAN | If you’ve always felt a nagging need for more Nutella in your life, good news: New York’s first Nutella Cafe is now open for business near Union Square, on University Place at E. 13 St.

The menu is full of items featuring the chocolate-hazelnut spread, including grilled banana bread, a frozen Nutella pop, and a hazelnut blondie. You can also create your own dish, with base options like a pancake, waffle or crepe, fruit choices to go with it, and toppings such as whipped cream, chopped hazelnuts or gelato. Nutella spread is included in all varieties, of course.

The shop also offers espresso drinks and a lively atmosphere. The place’s entrance is shaped like a Nutella jar and a wavy ceiling evokes the look of the rich dessert spread. And don’t worry, there’s a corner of the shop with merchandise, including coffee mugs and Nutella jars that say “New York” across the front, which were also given away as free samples for the grand opening on Wed., Nov. 14.

The entrance to the Nutella lovers’ new mecca on University Place.

This is the second Nutella Cafe in America, after the success of the first in Chicago, which opened in May 2017.

“There truly is nothing like the taste of Nutella hazelnut spread,” said Rick Fossali, vice president of operations for Nutella Cafe, in a June press release when the New York cafe was announced. “With the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Nutella Cafe Chicago, we know our fans feel the same way. It’s their excitement that propelled us to open another Nutella Cafe and continue to showcase the uniqueness and versatility of this beloved product.”

Fossali added, “As a multicultural epicenter, New York gives us the opportunity to explore and offer new ways for our local fans to enjoy Nutella, while reaching millions of tourists visiting the city.”

The long line outside the Nutella Cafe on opening day.

The Chicago shop immediately featured long lines out the door, and Wednesday’s grand opening promised more of the same. A long line formed along 13 St. shortly after 11 a.m., ahead of the noon opening. Normally the cafe will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays. People seemed cheery in 40-degree weather, and were helped along by free samples of biscuits and Nutella.

“I had walked by a lot and saw the signs for the opening today and thought, ‘How could I not stop by,’ ” said Zoe, a New York University student waiting in line. She didn’t know what the cafe would offer, saying, “I’m curious what they have available.”

Farther up in line was Erina, visiting the city from Japan.

“I love Nutella a lot and eat it in Japan,” she said, “so I wanted to come for the opening.”

She also didn’t know what to expect inside but was happy to take the leap of faith.

“Some people in Japan don’t like Nutella because it’s too sweet,” she noted, “but I think it’s great, in smaller amounts.”

Grilled banana bread a la Nutella.

Once inside, she would order the chia hemp seed parfait, with Nutella generously drizzled on top, and was very happy with the results.

Small groups were allowed to trickle inside shortly after noon, leaving scores of Nutella devotees to keep enduring the chilly winds for their turn.

“It’s very good,” said one woman as she left, offering encouragement to those still waiting to get in.

Another woman walked up to the entrance and asked the guard what was going on. After being told it was the opening for the Nutella Cafe, and it would be open every day, she wasn’t eager to join the line.

“I live and work in the neighborhood,” she said. “I have a little chocolate problem, so I’m getting away now.”

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